Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has dropped an update on the future of star midfielder Enzo Fernandez as Liverpool and Chelsea continue to be linked with his signature.
Fernandez impressed at the World Cup with Argentina, starting every knockout game and winning the FIFA Young Player Award.
His all-action, box-to-box performances in midfield helped his nation to lift their third World Cup, and cemented his reputation even further as one of Europe’s top young stars.
Indeed, he was on Liverpool’s radar before the tournament, with reports in October suggesting the Reds were eyeing a move for the 21-year-old.
Benfica signed the midfielder from River Plate for £30 million in the summer and, as per Transfermarkt, his value has sky-rocketed by 1000 per cent over the course of 2022.
And talkSPORT claim that interested clubs would need to pay the Argentinian’s £105 million release clause in full – which would represent a transfer record for Liverpool.
It would also break Chelsea’s record, with the Blues in serious discussions over whether to sign the midfielder, according to Fabrizio Romano.
And upon his return to Benfica from the World Cup, club boss Schmidt has issued an update on his future.
Roger Schmidt on Liverpool, Chelsea target Fernandez
Fernandez, described as ‘spectacular’ by Lionel Messi earlier this year, returned to his club side’s starting XI to take on Braga on Friday evening, and managed to play 88 minutes.
But it was not the triumphant return he would have hoped for, with Benfica losing 3-0 – their first league defeat of the season.
Speaking after the match, Schmidt gave an update on Fernandez’s future, and said that it could be the last time he plays in a Benfica shirt.
He said: “I don’t know if this was Enzo’s last match. He’s a fantastic player.
“Sometimes in football things happen and players have to make a decision… we’ll see what happens.”
Benfica do not play in the league until January 6, with Schmidt’s comments hinting at doubt internally over whether Fernandez will be still be playing in Portugal at that point.
Romano claimed earlier this week that Chelsea were prepared to pay a ‘huge fee’ to sign the Argentinian, in excess of his release clause, and that he had provisionally agreed to join the club.
However, the transfer journalist also added that no bid had been received from Liverpool at this stage, meaning Klopp’s side could still have time to seal a deal.
But any signing may have to be done in the summer, with The Times’ Paul Joyce claiming that the Reds will likely do no further business in January following the deal to sign Cody Gakpo.